The New Zealand Institute (NZI) – a think-tank composed of various academics and researchers – have released a new report on Initial Teacher Education (ITE), calling for a reform of the current system.
Michael Johnston and Stephanie Martin are the authors of Who Teaches the Teachers?; they believe the current University-dominated ITE system doesn’t produce “classroom ready” teachers.
Johnston is a Senior Fellow with the NZI and has previously held positions with the Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Education. Martin is an adjunct fellow with the NZI and has been a practising primary teacher since she graduated from the University of Auckland in 2016.
Together, the authors carried out an analysis of current ITE courses across its nation and concluded that there was an insufficient focus on the “science of learning”. Other issues the authors identified included: inadequate foundational skills for teachers in literacy and numeracy; too-little practical experience which is disconnected from theoretical learning; and an inconsistency in the quality of practicum and assessment standards.
Based on these analyses, and Martin’s own experiences in ITE, the authors recommended that:
- The Education and Training Act should be repealed. New legislation would enable more than one professional body to certify beginning teachers. The aim would be to encourage market competition, theoretically leading to better quality teachers and standards of teaching.
- ITE academics (teacher educators) should be exempt from research activities to allow focus on training teachers, including classroom observation and assessment.
- Accreditation of associate teachers and a four-tier career structure for teachers similar to current academic systems.
These recommendations aim to address what the authors see as pivotal issues in the current education system. The author state that declining literacy and numeracy rates among ākonga can be addressed through more rigorous teacher education and training, to a higher standard.
The full report, including the authors’ analysis of current ITE courses and its recommendations can be accessed here.